Prestonwood Baptist Church

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Prestonwood Baptist Church, in Plano, Texas, is one of the largest and fastest-growing megachurches in North America according to a 2012 study [1] and one of America's 50 Most Influential Churches according to a 2007 survey of church leaders.[2] The Plano campus covers an area of 140 acres (0.219 sq mi; 0.567 km2), and includes a 7,000-seat worship center, a school offering Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12, a fitness center, a sports stadium, sports fields, a cafe, a library, and two bookstores. In 2006, the church expanded to include a second "North" campus of nearly 128 acres (0.200 sq mi; 0.518 km2) in Prosper, Texas.[3] In 2011 the church again expanding adding a "Dallas" campus near LBJ Freeway and Hillcrest.

Ministry[edit]

With a staff of almost 40 ministers, Prestonwood provides biblical teachings and worship services in the Baptist tradition. It also has Bible Fellowship classes, a 500+ member church choir, and specialized ministries for adults, children, students and Spanish speakers, as well as mission outreach at local and global levels.[4] The church operates a sports ministry, known as PSO (Prestonwood Sports Organization), which offers youth baseball and soccer leagues, each serving approximately 1,000 children annually with youth football and basketball; adult basketball, soccer, softball and other activity programs.

History[edit]

Prestonwood was founded on February 6, 1977,[5] as an offshoot of Northway Baptist Church. Under founding pastor Bill Weber,[6] the new organization grew considerably, and within six years had constructed a 4,000-seat worship center. By 1988, Prestonwood had grown to 11,000 members and the same year, Pastor Weber confessed to an extramarital affair and stepped down from the pulpit.[7]

In 1989, Dr. Jack Graham replaced Weber as Senior Pastor of Prestonwood, by this time considered a "megachurch" because of its rapid expansion into one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States.[6]

Broadcast outreach[edit]

In April 1994, Prestonwood launched a broadcast ministry called PowerPoint Ministries [8] with Dr. Jack Graham, which is today broadcast globally on television and radio as well as available online and through audio and video podcasting.

Expansion[edit]

In 1994, the church's leadership began plans for a 7,000-seat worship center. Services were first held on May 2, 1999. The church continued to expand its facilities throughout the next decade. Soon after the opening of the new worship center, the first phase of the new Prestonwood Sports and Fitness Center (SFC) was completed. In August 2003, the church completed the second phase of the building, which featured a new chapel, a 100 feet (30 m) "Faith Tower" topped by a cross, a student ministry area, restaurant and commons, additional space for Bible fellowship and administrative offices. Two years later, the Prestonwood Christian Academy High School opened on the west side of the church campus.

2006 saw the continued expansion of Prestonwood with the opening of its second campus in Prosper, Texas, near U.S. Highway 380 and Dallas Parkway. That same year, the church also completed a new children's wing and updated its facilities for PowerPoint Ministries, including an upgrade to High Definition (HDTV).

Prestonwood opened a third campus in 2011 in Dallas by purchasing Hillcrest Church for approximately $18 million. Renovations were completed shortly thereafter and more than 2,300 attended the first Worship Service at the Dallas Campus on Aug. 21, 2011.

On September 23, 2012 Prestonwood's North Campus in Prosper celebrated the opening of a 75,000 square-foot building expansion. The new building provides space for growing ministries, including children’s and adult Bible Fellowship classrooms, full-size gymnasium, student ministry space, bookstore and commons area for gathering.

The church reached the 32,000-member mark in 2013, with regular attendance at worship services averaging around 17,000.[9]

Growth[edit]

While Prestonwood can be considered a part of the "megachurch movement" within Protestant Christianity, its size and expansion are above-average even for the standard megachurch, which is defined as a church with an average weekend attendance of 2,000 or more.[citation needed] One factor which may have contributed to the church's popularity is its participation in the Dallas Christmas Festival. Prestonwood was formerly home to the festival, one of the nation's largest Christmas pageants, as well as one of the top-rated Christmas-related events in the state of Texas.[citation needed] Each year the festival featured thirteen performances attended by almost 70,000 members of the public.[citation needed] The festival has not been held since 2006 but has been replaced by the Gloria Christmas show and then in 2010 by the seven-performance The Gift of Christmas.[10]

Wrongdoing[edit]

In May 2008, 52-year-old Joe Barron, a minister at the church, was arrested for soliciting sex from an officer posing online as a 13-year-old girl. Two days later, Senior Pastor Jack Graham addressed the scandal from the pulpit. In his address, Dr. Graham said the accused pastor had been asked to resign and had done so.[11][12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1], Outreach Magazine, retrieved 2013-03-17
  2. ^ 50 Most Influential Churches in America[dead link]
  3. ^ Hodges, Sam & Appleton, Roy. "Booming church not done growing", Dallas Morning News, 2006-03-28
  4. ^ Leadership & Staff, church web site, retrieved 2008-05-17
  5. ^ "History - Prestonwood Baptist Church". Prestonwood Baptist Church. September 10, 2006. 
  6. ^ a b Prestonwood Life, February/March 2007, retrieved 2008-05-16
  7. ^ Parmley, Helen, Prestonwood Pastor Resigns, Dallas Morning News, 1988-10-09
  8. ^ Powerpoint Ministries
  9. ^ "Quick Facts - Prestonwood Baptist Church". Prestonwood Baptist Church. February 29, 2012. 
  10. ^ "The Gift of Christmas - Prestonwood Baptist Church". Prestonwood Baptist Church. February 29, 2012. 
  11. ^ Chavez, Stella, Prestonwood Baptist pastor: Church appalled, disgraced by minister's sex sting arrest, Dallas Morning News, 2008-05-18, retrieved 2008-06-05
  12. ^ Fullhart, Steve (September 29, 2009). "Former Texas Minister Sentenced In Teen Sex Solicitation Case". KBTX-TV. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°1′44.00″N 96°50′49.30″W / 33.0288889°N 96.8470278°W / 33.0288889; -96.8470278